Criminal JusticeFederalImmigration & BorderTexas Has Apprehended Almost 800 Criminals Via Anti-Illegal Immigration Efforts

Texas has supplemented federal enforcement at the southern border via an effort known as “Operation Lone Star.”
April 20, 2021
Since the commencement of Operation Lone Star, the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) have apprehended almost 800 criminals and confiscated 3,800 pounds of marijuana, 19 pounds of cocaine, and 50 firearms, according to a letter on Thursday from Gov. Greg Abbott to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

In his letter, Abbott called on the White House to designate Mexican drug cartels such as the Gulf Cartel and the Los Zetas as foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

He said cartels are “exploiting America’s border policies” and “fuel the ongoing crisis at the border.”

“These Mexican drug cartels are foreign terrorist organizations, and it is time for the federal government to designate them as such,” Abbott wrote. “Securing the border and defending our nation from foreign threats is the government’s responsibility.”

Abbott highlighted some of the additional tools the federal government would have if it made the designations. The governor pointed out that individuals who provide financial backing for FTOs face harsher consequences, including possible life imprisonment.

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While the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act could give the government the ability to freeze the assets of Mexican drug cartels, Abbott provided as an example that the federal government has made the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia an FTO along with its inclusion in the Kingpin law.

Former President Trump decided to make a similar move in the final months of 2019 but changed his plans at the prompting of Mexican President Andrés Manual López Obrador.

At the time, Mexican authorities interpreted the decision as an affront to Mexico’s self-governance, as expressed in remarks by Mexican Foreign Minister Marcel Ebrard.

“Mexico will never admit any action that means the violation of its national sovereignty. We will act firmly,” Ebrard said. “The position has already been transmitted to the U.S. as well as our resolution to deal with transnational organized crime. Mutual respect is the basis of cooperation.”

The State of Texas initiated Operation Lone Star on March 6 of this year in response to a sharp increase in illegal immigration and trafficking activities. Abbott later expanded the operation to specifically fight human trafficking.

President Biden made Vice President Harris the point person for border policy in March, which is reportedly her first “major policy role” since being sworn in as vice president. Harris characterized the state of the southern border as “a huge problem.”

A copy of Abbott’s letter to President Biden and Vice President Harris can be found below.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."